Monday, April 13, 2009


Because I had told Paddy so firmly all the minutiae of good behavior at Easter mass, including a prohibition against asking questions, I thought it would be good to pay attention to preparing him beforehand about what Easter meant. So he wouldn't have any important questions left to ask during the service itself.

So I read him the Good Friday Bible story on Good Friday. It was surprisingly hard to read the story of Our Lord's arrest, trial and crucifixion to a 6 year old. He knows it generally but the actual story is so horrible in the details. Something in me wants to protect him against something so shocking happening to someone he has learned to love through the Christmas stories and the stories of his miracles. Besides, I was afraid I would start to cry, which would embarrass him.

However, it went off all right. He was very interested. And when we got to Easter mass, very early because his older brothers were altar serving, some serendipity came in because the bulletin had a line drawing of Jesus emerging from the tomb. Paddy said with delight "There's Jesus!" and I explained about the stone rolling aside and the angel and the women (reminding him because we have talked about this story before).

Then the bulletin also talked about how we go to mass on Sundays because we are re-celebrating Easter... how the Jews celebrated the Sabbath on Saturday but the custom was changed from the earliest days of the Church. So I paraphrased that for him because one of his recent questions has been "WHY do we have to go to church every Sunday?" I have been telling him about how much God does for us every second of every day and how little he really requires in return so this was another way to present it.

Also, on Friday we finished reading The Law of Authority and Obedience. Parables from Nature has been a stumbling block for me for years. Every time I looked at Ambleside, I would see this book and glance through the text and hesitate. I just couldn't bring myself to read it to my children. However, Paddy's my last (though Aidan will be the last chronologically to go through Year 1, I guess) and so I wanted to give the whole Ambleside curriculum a fair try. To my surprise these stories suit him well. He gets all fired up with enthusiasm -- the Big Questions put his mind in high gear. The older kids were listening sub rosa and after I finished we had an interesting discussion about roles, etc. I'm glad however that there are only a few of these stories for Year 1 because "just a little is enough" -- I can see that it would be a strain on his mind and heart to have a steady diet of these stories, which is probably why I instinctively hesitated in the past.

He was pretty good at Mass. That is the main habit we're working on right now. He tends to get so restless that he almost closes off his mind and senses. I'm thinking of having him practice during the week. At home he CAN sit still for long times when I'm reading to him, but it's harder for him when his mind isn't fully engaged. So I need to teach him to be able to reflect and take in what's around him when there's no "narrative" so to speak. Picture study and composer study might help a bit.... just thinking this through?

We are still on vacation -- resume studies tomorrow. I wanted to use this blog as a place to jot down teaching notes rather than just list what we did. And sometimes learning happens on the off days, too.

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